Has the Natural Product Industry Gone Too Far?

One commonly asked question we get in our 21 day challenges is, “Is this healthy??” and attached is a photo of some food that is being labeled as such that a participant has found in their grocery store.
Chances are, if you have to ask, the answer is NO.

Kelly and I were at the Natural Products Expo West this last weekend. Imagine shuffling through nearly 400,000 square feet with 65,000 buyers, vendors, practitioners, and others interested in, producing, and pimping out their so-called natural products (of which over 3,000 companies are eager to share with you). The sampling is enough to make you physically ill (and in dire need of one of Kelly’s detoxes) and the stimulation of such an event rivals the streets of Manhattan or Vegas! As Kelly observed, it’s like Halloween for nutrition geeks such as ourselves.

Has the Natural Products Industry Gone too Far?

Everyone there claims to have a natural product. And, to present at the show, you must follow the standards deemed credible by NPEW. But what is natural? Legally, it has no definition. As an industry, we’ve adopted a standard that includes such buzzword definitions as ‘no artificial colors or flavors’, ‘no msg’, ‘no hydrogenated fats’ ‘no hormones added’ and beyond that….well, anything goes, really. That’s why you can go to such an event and get sick on too many gluten-free oreos and receive samples of chalky puffed chia chips reminiscent of styrofoam or a vegan meat that miraculously looks and feels miraculously familiar to the real thing.

Here’s my biggest takeaway from ExpoWest 2014 – the natural products industry has gone too far.
Really, I knew this, but being in Anaheim last weekend was like having a gluten-free vegan breaded codfish product slapped in my face repeatedly. I got the hint.
Among all that product, all that sampling and all the genuinely exciting hullabaloo coming to a natural food store near you the product that stuck out the most, that had the strongest resonance and most powerful influence for me was a cucumber slice sprinkled with Herbamare.

Best of Show- Expo West 2014THIS was all natural. It was like a fresh spring breeze upon my tongue. It lifted my energy and I’m certain it put a joyful twinkle in my eyes and a skip in my step. The sampler said she said many people who stopped by said it was the only vegetable they’d had all day. That gives one pause, doesn’t it?

At the end of the day, if you eat packaged good, natural or not, organic or not, GMO-free or not, you are more likely to fall ill than if you eat something that is not packaged. The devil is in the processing.

What then qualifies as a processed food? Think you know? Think again! Click here to read about food and processing, and what the processing of even the most natural foods does to the body.

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